February 8, 2016

Lunar New Year puddings: 2016 roundup

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Every year when I go home for Lunar New Year, a key part of my luggage will be the shipment of puddings which go on sale this time of year.  This year was no exception, although these days I no longer run around town scouring for different selections.  We've kinda figured out what mom likes, so I just went straight to the one outlet that sells it.

This year, though, I actually received complimentary puddings for the first time.  The nice people at the Hotel Lisboa have put me on their pressie list, and this year The Grand Buffet (自助山) has produced a gift box containing both a savory and a sweet pudding, and I managed to pick up mine the day before I flew home.

The top tier contained the savory turnip cake with conpoy and dried shrimp (瑤柱金鈎蘿蔔糕).  We were kinda surprised that the toppings came in such big chunks.  I would have thought they would have made it a little more refined and diced them into smaller chunks.

While cutting the pudding into chunks for pan-frying, mom noticed that the consistency was softer.  These turned out to be pretty tasty.

The lower tier housed the New Year pudding with Okinawa black sugar and golden leaf (沖繩黑糖椰汁金箔年糕).

As we cut open the plastic package to take out the pudding, we noticed that the few pieces of gold leaf had disappeared...  It turns out that as the pudding warmed up, the gold leaf ended up sticking to the plastic packaging!  Oh well, not that I really wanted to eat gold leaf, anyway...

Mom was too lazy to whip up some egg batter to dip the pudding in, so she ended up taking a long time pan-frying... and it ended up being kinda ugly.  But I was able to taste a little bit of the muscovado, since the flavors are distinctive.

The main haul came from Fook Lam Moon Fine Foods (福臨門尚品).  Mom cares most about the premium new year water chestnut cake (桂林馬蹄糕), and for her the ones from Fook Lam Moon have been the most satisfying.  So every year I make a trip to Fook Lam Moon for this...

And it IS very tasty, thanks to a combination of having enough actual water chestnuts in the pudding, and also the use of water chestnut water throughout the pudding.  Letting the sugars caramelize a little is always nice.

While I'm there, I decide to also buy some of their premium new year glutinous rice cake (椰汁賀年糕).

This was OK, and nothing to write home about.  There was a little bit of coconut flavor, but not enough for my taste.  Oh, and mom did a pretty ugly job of pan-frying...

And I also pick up a premium new year radish cake (臘味蘿蔔糕) from Fook Lam Moon.  I've always liked this while dining in the restaurant, and I wanted to have some with mom.  There's a stark difference in appearance between this and the one from The Grand Buffet, as the toppings are much more finely diced.

This was pretty damn good.  Tastier than the one from The Grand Buffet.

The last pudding in this year's haul was an afterthought... literally.  I had picked up my stash from Fook Lam Moon when I remembered that there was a branch of Kung Lee (公利真料竹蔗水) nearby.  So I walked over and picked up a water chestnut pudding with sugar cane juice (蔗汁馬蹄糕).

I was definitely liking it, and so did mom.  Despite the relatively sparse presence of water chestnuts - which were pounded into little chunks instead of being sliced - the sugar cane juice was the winning factor.  Once caramelized, this was really tasty.

Yes... we ate a lot of these puddings over the span of a few days... but that's what Lunar New Year is all about, innit?!

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